- ‘Applying Nurture as a whole school approach: A Framework to support the self-evaluation of nurturing approaches in schools and early learning and childcare settings’ professional learning is on the 23rd of May from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm in the Optima Building in Glasgow. This will support any school leaders who have begun to look at how they implement and self-evaluate nurturing approaches in their setting. There are still some places available for this training.
- ‘Nurturing approaches to support the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences’ professional learning is taking place on the 4th of June from 9.30 to 3.30 pm in Victoria Quay in Edinburgh. This training day is an exciting opportunity to link nurturing approaches to ACEs and to look at how you might adapt your practice to support the needs of children and young people affected by ACEs.
- If you are interested in attending any of these sessions please contact: Gail.Nowek@educationscotland.gsi.gov.uk
In support of Year of Young People 2018, Historic Environment Scotland and Social Enterprise Academy have launched a new opportunity for schools and social enterprises, aimed at inspiring young entrepreneurs and promoting Gaelic language. For more information contact email@example.com.
Child Poverty Action Group has some good practice examples of working with partners in the community including local organisations to help towards reducing the cost of a school day see link below
The 4th edition of Amazing Things – the guide to youth awards in Scotland has been launched by the Awards Network to coincide with the 2017 Scottish Learning Festival. Featuring 26 youth award providers and more than double the number of youth awards than the previous edition, it is packed with information that will help young people, educators and employers to learn more about youth awards and how they contribute to young people’s learning, life and work skills development.
Commenting on Amazing Things, Graeme Logan, Chief Inspector of Education, encourages ‘everyone who works with young people – in schools, youth work settings, further education or in the workplace to make best use of this excellent resource’.
In his Foreword to Amazing Things, John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, highlights the important contribution that youth awards make to raising attainment and to developing key skills valued by employers. Hugh Aitken CBE, CBI Scotland Director, echoes these remarks, commending youth awards for helping young people develop a ‘can do attitude – exactly what we (employers) want to see in the workforce’.
A keynote contribution from Jim Thewliss, General Secretary of School Leaders Scotland, notes how youth awards have developed ‘from curriculum enhancements to fundamental building blocks’.
And from young people themselves:
Graeme – “Gaining my award is an amazing achievement. I have learned so many new skills, met so many new friends and this has boosted my confidence”
Stephanie – “From self-management to making the most of new opportunities (my award) has given me the chance to grow as a person”
Amazing Things features 48 award programmes, many providing multiple levels of progression and almost half delivering formal qualifications. Find out about key award elements, age ranges, distinctive features, skills and competences and links to other awards.
Copies of Amazing Things 4 can be ordered by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or downloaded from the Awards Network website.
By Cat Thomson, Senior Development Officer, Enquire
The Young Ambassadors for Inclusion are aged between 12 and 18 and represent 22 of the 32 local authorities in Scotland. The group aims to:
- Share young people’s views and experiences of inclusion;
- Raise awareness of Additional Support for Learning with other pupils to reduce stigma and improve understanding;
- Improve school staffs understanding of inclusion;
- Work together to develop ways to develop and support inclusive education.
They are supported by Education Scotland, Enquire [the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning] and individual local authority staff.
In June, the young people took their messages about inclusion to the Scottish Cabinet.
“We want to be seen as individuals with our own set of unique strengths and skills.”
These are impressive words from Alistair, one of the Young Ambassadors for Inclusion who met Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary, John Swinney in June to share their views on inclusion and support in school.
During the meeting, 11 members of the group shared findings from their work. They were keen to raise issues they think it is important for policymakers, local authority staff, school leaders, teachers and support staff to hear and reflect on when making decisions about support for pupils with additional support for learning.
One of the first questions the Ambassadors considered was what inclusion means to them. Their comments make for interesting reading. Many of the young people saw inclusion as a positive thing making pupils feeling safe, accepted, and treated equally. Common messages were “everybody [should be] included in education regardless of need”, “being able to work together with a range of people”, “everybody involved, nobody left out” and “not being defined by any difficulties you have”.
A small number of Ambassadors talked about inclusion adding additional pressure to young people but the universal message was how incredibly important it is to young people to feel listened to, understood and supported. Comments included: “It’s good when we are listened to and asked what we need”, and “When staff have an understanding of different additional support needs and can understand certain behaviour it helps them understand why young people may act in a particular way.”
What works less well is when pupils feel excluded or unsupported: “Many class teachers and other staff do not have awareness of additional support needs, what that means for us and how to support in the classroom”, and “Pupils need access to all areas of the school and curriculum.”
A number of pupils wanted to encourage schools to give pupils with additional support needs the same opportunities as other pupils and not to make assumptions about their abilities, highlighting that sometimes trying something and not succeeding is better than not trying.
Some of the themes they identified from their work included: raising awareness, friendship and belonging, positive attitude and support.
“Whole school awareness of ASN can support much better understanding and reduce stigma and isolation”
“Taking opportunities to share that people are different and you should not make fun of them.”
Ambassadors recommended that all teachers should have training on inclusion and the different types of additional support for learning pupils may have and how this might affect them in school.
They felt more could be done in primary school to raise awareness of additional support for learning and called for zero tolerance of bullying of pupils with additional support needs.
They suggested holding pupil conferences, taking part in national awareness weeks, putting on school assemblies led by pupils, or developing awareness raising days about specific issues such as mental health or LGBT.
Friendship and belonging
“I didn’t really feel part of mainstream school.”
Ambassadors called for schools to help young people feel more confident, build friendships and feel included. Schools should provide opportunities to take part in activities with peers.
“Don’t segregate pupils with needs.”
“It helps to be patient.”
As one Inclusion Ambassador said to John Swinney: “We need to create positive stories about pupils with additional support need rather than focus on the negatives.”
Ambassadors felt schools should focus on raising awareness of the range of reasons a pupil may need support and how this might make a pupil feel in school, while also encouraging a more positive view of additional support needs.
“Supportive teachers in mainstream are crucial”
“Teachers need qualifications to work with pupils with additional support needs and medical needs.”
“Staff off and no replacement really affects learning”
Making it easy for pupils to ask for help and offer the right support
Sharing information about how pupils can ask for help and having supportive and empathetic teachers who can support pupil’s emotional issues was highlighted as helpful to encourage young people to ask for help when they need it.
Ambassadors stressed the importance of schools listening to pupils about the type of support they wanted in school. They also highlighted the impact of crucial support not being available to help them get the most out of school, with many reporting support had been reduced due to budget cuts. Others shared experiences of inconsistent staffing, and highlighted the impact this had on their learning and school experience.
Ambassadors encouraged schools to have a range of options for collected pupils views, including focus groups and questionnaires.
The Young Ambassadors for Inclusion are planning to create a pledge that schools can use to demonstrate their commitment to inclusion. They will also be involved in developing a support pack for schools, including a short film to raise awareness of inclusion, the range of additional support needs and the impact on pupils and their families.
This article also appears in August’s Children in Scotland magazine.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and partners will publish an extensive list of over 40 apprenticeships which will see posts created from the Butt to Barra, across a wide range of sectors and departments including:
- Business Administration
- Business Management
- Community Development
- Child Care
- Education Attainment
- Gaelic language assistants
- Health and Social Care
- Human Resource
- Outdoor/Indoor Education
- Roads maintenance
- Sustainable Resource Management
- Sport and health
- Motor Mechanics
The Comhairle will be hosting community meetings throughout the Western Isles to provide full information on the above apprentices. Dates have yet to be confirmed but these meetings will take place the week commencing Monday 5th June 2017 and further details will be publicised closer to the time.
Cllr Angus McCormack, Chairman of Education, Sport and Children’s Services, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for people from the Butt to Barra to earn whilst they learn, and very importantly – to do so in their own areas. This ties in very well indeed to the Comhairle’s aims to reverse depopulation, provide our people with the opportunity to remain in their communities, whilst also contributing to the economy. I would encourage those who speak Gaelic and also those who have a particular interest in land management and crofting to keep express their interest in these apprenticeships. I would reiterate once again that the apprenticeships are open to anyone, not just young people, and anyone who feels that they may be interested should register at www.myjobscotland.gov.uk and setup an alert for the job category “Modern Apprenticeships/Trainee” where they will receive notifications by e-mail as soon as the Comhairle’s Apprenticeships posts go live.
“The Comhairle is committed to workforce planning and having a sustainable platform for the future, to help our communities and our islands to flourish and we will continue to work hard to ensure that we achieve these aims.”
By Alan Armstrong, Strategic Director
Our report ‘Quality and improvement in Scottish education 2012-2016’ (QuISE) points to five key aspects of education and practice which we believe should be priorities for improvement if all learners in Scotland are to achieve their potential. Many or all sectors of education should be:
- exploiting fully the flexibility of Curriculum for Excellence to meet better the needs of all learners;
- improving arrangements for assessment and tracking to provide personalised guidance and support throughout the learner journey;
- maximising the contribution of partnerships with other services, parents and the wider community to enhance children’s and young people’s learning experiences;
- improving further the use of self-evaluation and improvement approaches to ensure consistent high quality of provision; and
- growing a culture of collaboration within and across establishments and services to drive innovation, sharing of practice and collective improvement.
Looking at these priorities from my perspective in ensuring the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence, the employability and skills agenda, and digital learning and teaching, I am struck by how the priorities inter-relate and, indeed, are interdependent.
The flexibility offered by CfE has the potential for schools to design their curriculum structures in ways that reflect fully the local contexts and aspirations of their learners. Within this, the range of progression pathways can then enable children and young people to make suitably brisk progress across the broad general education, and into and through the senior phase. This needs to be informed by improved assessment and tracking to ensure teachers, learners and parents make the most appropriate decisions at the right time.
However, there is no doubt that the curriculum structures needed to make this a reality rely very strongly on the direct contributions of partners, including agencies and local employers. Collaborations amongst staff within and across schools, with colleagues in colleges, community learning and development and other areas of expertise all combine to enrich the curriculum and motivate learners.
In early learning and childcare provision, primary and secondary schools, the new curriculum area Benchmarks are beginning to support a clearer understanding of learners’ progression across the broad general education. This will help teachers to plan the breadth, challenge and application of learning that will prepare young people for the three year learner journey of their senior phase. And that of course involves collaborations and the wide range of qualifications across the SCQF framework, exploiting again the flexibility of CfE in preparing learners for their futures.
Partnerships are the essential element in Developing the Young Workforce. I’m becoming aware of increasingly effective approaches to employability, skills and career education, often promoted through three-ways partnerships amongst schools, colleges and employers. And by now you’ll be seeing the connections with the other QuISE priorities of collaboration and more informed personal guidance that can help to exploit that full flexibility in CfE.
Digital learning and teaching has great potential to promote and improve partnership working and collaboration, locally, nationally and internationally. Teachers and pupils can gain significantly in learning from the innovative and effective practice of others. Where digital is central in planning and delivering learning and teaching, and makes use of learners’ own digital skills or develops them further, I’m in no doubt that young people benefit. Digital can and does support teachers in their tracking and monitoring, reducing bureaucracy and workload. As digital access and digital skills continues to improve, the opportunities for leaders, practitioners and learners to take steps that address the QuISE priorities are significant.
The individual QuISE chapters on each education sector highlight good practice as well as challenges in providing high quality experiences for all. The key is often the distinct professionalism of leaders and practitioners, engaging individually and collaboratively to reflect and to make the changes that matter.
Finally, effective self-evaluation is central to ensuring continuous improvement in addressing the priorities in QuISE. I am beginning to see schools, colleges, and community learning and development now looking beyond their own centre and working with all partners in undertaking self-evaluation and analysing evidence. The benefit will be greater collective understanding of how effectively their curriculum, learning, teaching and assessment genuinely meet their learners’ needs. Where that process leads to jointly agreed actions for improvement, I’m in no doubt that the learning experiences and the outcomes for all children and young people will also improve.
by Dr Bill Maxwell, HM Chief Inspector of Education
The publication of our report on Quality and improvement in Scottish education (QuISE), ranging back over the period 2012 to 2016, has been a great opportunity to take a step back from more immediate short-term concerns and take a ‘bigger picture’ view of what has been achieved over a period of major reform which has touched every area of Scottish education.
Having launched the report, I would now encourage each education setting to read their dedicated chapter and consider it in their self-evaluation.
Of course there is already good evidence around that, as result of the professionalism and expertise of staff and of course the efforts of learners themselves, outcomes have improved over that stretch of time. National Qualification outcomes have steadily improved and the proportion of young people entering a positive destination post-school now sits at a record high. Although there is still a long way to go, we have also seen evidence of progress in beginning to close the attainment gap between pupils from the most and the least disadvantaged backgrounds.
Equally, of course, not all in the statistical garden in rosy. We have also seen some unwelcome indications that we should be concerned about the pace of progress in literacy and numeracy through the broad general education, for example, and we saw a disappointing set of PISA results for 2015.
The QuISE report, offers a distinctly different, but complementary, perspective from that which you can get by simply looking at the statistics. It provides an analysis based on first-hand observation and evaluation of the quality what is actually happening in playrooms, classrooms, lecture rooms and other educational settings throughout the country. It summarises observation and evaluation undertaken by expert professionals, HM inspectors and indeed many other associates and lay members from education sectors across the country who join our inspection teams contributing a valuable additional perspective.
Our analysis of what has emerged from that more qualitative evidence base over the last four years has led us to conclude that there are some very positive and growing strengths in the provision and practice within Scottish education. These are strengths that align directly with the ambitions of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and other related reforms.
We are seeing improvement in the quality of learning experiences, with the result that young people are increasingly well motivated, engaged and actively involved in their learning. We are seeing schools and other education settings becoming more inclusive, we are seeing a broader range of achievements being promoted and recognised, and we are seeing the impact of strong leadership, with a clear and sustained focus on raising the quality of the day-to-day learning and teaching that learners experience.
The report also sets out a set of five priority areas. This is where we believe targeted improvements in practice and provision would reap dividends in enabling us to make further progress towards meeting our collective national ambition of achieving excellence with equity for all Scottish learners. They include: exploiting more fully the flexibility of CfE; improving assessment and personal support; enhancing partnerships; strengthening approaches to self-evaluation and improvement; and growing a culture of collaborative enquiry. In all cases these go with the flow of current reforms and national strategies and in each case there are already examples of excellent practice in the system.
Taking a longer view of what has been achieved over the last few years, and thinking about where we go next, has also had quite a personal dimension for me, as I retire from the role of Chief Executive of Education Scotland this Summer. As I prepare to move on, I am convinced that the Scottish education system is well placed to make substantial progress across each of these key areas.
If I were to pick out a linking theme it would be about collective commitment across all partners in the education system to work together, to help each other, and indeed to constructively challenge each other, in ways which provide richer, more coherent, more personalised learning pathways capable of matching the needs of all our learners. Confident collaboration for improvement rather than competitive isolation should be the Scottish way, reflecting our deep national commitment to a strong education as a common public good.
Taking account of the themes in this report, and with the National Improvement Framework providing a new level of clarity and focus from national to local level, I am confident that we can rise to the challenge that the OECD left us with following their 2015 review: to make sure we achieve the potential of a progressive programme of national educational reform, by taking bold and specific action to fully realise its benefits. I hope the QuISE report helps inform discussion and debate in education settings of all types, across the whole country, about where that specific action is needed and how boldness can be ensured as it is pursued.
My World of Work offers career information, advice and resources to help children and young people learning Gaelic and in GME make informed choices about their future. It enables children and young people to choose school subjects based on labour market information and career pathways. Find out more.
For information on teaching Gaelic, or through the medium of Gaelic, please visit Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s website
Parentzone Scotland is one of Education Scotland’s three websites that are moving to a new platform by December 2016. The layout, content and structure of Parentzone Scotland will mostly stay the same but it will have a new improved design and enhanced formatting functions. The new website platform will allow us to make further improvements and enhancements to Parentzone Scotland in future as more content is added to the site. It will also ensure visitors to the website have a better user experience.